Photo courtesy of IMSA

Porsche sets IMSA GTLM lineup, reveals GTD upgrade plans

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As part of Porsche’s annual Night of Champions in Stuttgart, Germany, the manufacturer’s GT plans came into focus in full after weeks and months preparing to reveal its 2018 program.

The IMSA GT Le Mans side will, as expected, see ex-LMP1 drivers Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber return to North America. The pair has enjoyed rapid, meteoric trajectories as Porsche factory drivers and will be back to being split in the pair of Porsche 911 RSRs next season.

Tandy will share the No. 911 car with Patrick Pilet, and Bamber the No. 912 car with Laurens Vanthoor.

Gianmaria Bruni, who co-drove with Vanthoor in the second half of 2017, has been transferred over to Porsche’s FIA World Endurance Championship entry and will run as third driver in the No. 912 car next year. Fred Makowiecki will be third driver in the No. 911 car.

Dirk Werner, who co-drove with Pilet in North America this year, will race for Porsche in both the Intercontinental GT Challenge and Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup next year.

Porsche has also revealed the technical details behind the “evo” package upgrade for its Porsche 911 GT3 R GT3 car, which enters its third year in 2018.

Per Porsche, the customer car receives an upgrade – not a fully new car – for the 2018 season. The parts kit, which can be used to update all 2016 and 2017 models, includes among other things, a new front lid/hood for the optimization of thermal management and side flicks on the front bumper to improve aerodynamic balance.

IMSA’s 2018 season starts with the Roar Before the Rolex 24 in early January, then the Rolex 24 at Daytona itself later that month.

WATCH LIVE: IndyCar practice and qualifying at Laguna Seca

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For the first time in 15 years, Indy cars will be racing at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and the stakes have never been higher.

Tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Monterey is the final race of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season, and with four drivers mathematically eligible for the series championship, there will be plenty of story lines to follow.

Current series points leader Josef Newgarden enters this weekend with a 41-point lead over second-place Alexander Rossi.

A California native, Rossi attended his first IndyCar race with his father as child at Laguna Seca when he was three years old.

He now hopes to win his first IndyCar championship at the track where he fell in love with the sport, but after suffering a broken bolt in practice 1 yesterday, he will need to find speed in P3 and qualifying today in order to put himself in the best position to fight for the title.

Simon Pagenaud and Scott Dixon are also in contention to win the championship this weekend, and another title would only add to their already illustrious IndyCar careers.

Leigh Diffey, Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell will call today’s on-track action from the booth, while Marty Snider, Jon Beekhuis, Kevin Lee and Robin Miller will report from the pits.

Here is today’s schedule:

(All times are Eastern)

Saturday 9/21, 1 p.m. ET, IndyCar Practice 3, NBC Sports Gold 

Saturday 9/21, 4:30 p.m. ET, IndyCar Qualifying, NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold

Saturday 9/21, 6 p.m. ET, Indy Lights Race 1, NBC Sports Gold 

 

For sessions on NBC Sports Gold, be sure to have your username and password handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.